When most think about mead, they probably imagine flutes and panpipes being played at a local Renaissance Fair. But, mead is far more expansive than an annual tipple from a royal goblet, and Tampa Heights’s Garagiste Meadery is proving that out.
Artisan mead that is hard to find anywhere else
The honey hooch has been around since 8,000 B.C., but Garagiste Meadery has ushered mead into the modern era primarily by treating it like a craft beer.
This award-winning meadery is run by Chad Wiltz who started making mead in small artisanal batches, and really has stuck to this type of meadmaking as a commercial operation – after all, the term “garagiste“ refers to a group of controversial French winemakers who reacted to traditional Bordeaux legacy winemakers by stealing grapes and making wine in garages and basements.
And it is precisely those gutsy and experimental varietals that make Garagiste Meadery different and a must try for anyone cruising around the bustling Tampa Heights area over any given weekend.
Chug a boog or two
For example, their taproom currently boasts Susy’s Cherry Pie, a tart cherry mead, En Orama de Tamiami, Amarone wine grapes aged on raisins and oak, BA Reboog Noir, Blackberry PB&J aged in bourbon barrels, and Bangkok Anejo, a ginger mead also aged in Bourbon barrels.
Often made with hand-picked fruit, each bottle of mead is around 12 to 14% alcohol by volume and can run around $10 for a pour. Bottles can run anywhere from $20 to $50.
Garagiste Meadery is open on Friday at 3pm to 11pm, Saturday from 12pm to 11pm and Sunday 12pm to 7pm.